estate sale

estate sale

How an Estate Sale Quickly Declutters Everything (But the Kitchen Sink!)

Imagine selling roomfuls of things, without having to pack, unpack, load, unload … if this sounds ideal, then an estate sale may be right for you!

An estate sale is one more option for decluttering your excess stuff and getting a financial return, as well. I’ve linked other selling options at the end of this post.

Whichever route you take, why not cash in on the stuff you no longer need, use, or want? 

We begin with a definition of “estate sale” so it’s clear how it works. Then, we’ll review how to start the process and have one run in your home. 

Today's Post Covers The Basics of An Estate Sale To Declutter Your Whole House Lickety-Split!

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The Definition of "Estate Sale"

First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. Sometimes folks use the terms “estate sale“, “tag sale“, “garage sale” or “yard sale” interchangeably. But there are distinct differences!

For our purposes here, an estate sale refers to a third party managing the liquidation of personal belongings. It’s a formal process handled by a professional from start to finish. 

The sale takes place inside the home, whether in just a few select rooms or the entire footprint of the house.

The word “estate” can conjure up images of high end goods, collectibles, or fine antiques. But this is not always the case. In fact, just about anything you would find in a home can and has been sold at an estate sale!

Also, an estate sale was traditionally used to liquidate personal belongings after someone died. It was a quick way to settle debts. However, an estate sale can also be a practical approach for clearing space when the goal is to declutter, downsize, or divorce. 

Interestingly, estate sales can be run by the homeowner and can occur on-line, too. For today, we are only examining the on-site professionally managed approach.

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Other Types of Sales

In contrast, most tag, garage, and yard sales are run by the owners themselves or with the help of a family member or friend.

These types of sales tend to take a more casual approach. For example, items to sell are located in the garage, driveway, or front yard to keep buyers out of the house!

Additionally, prices are indicated with stickers. Certain tables or racks may have a sign with one price for all items placed there.  Some buyers often want to counter the posted prices, as well. Once a final price is agreed upon, cash and sometimes even personal checks are accepted.

Now, back to the estate sale process!

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Kick Off An Estate Sale With These 3 Steps

Step 1: Locate a professional

In fact, talk to more than just one for comparison. A complimentary consultation allows the professional to evaluate your items, to explain their procedures, and to disclose the cost of using their services.

Always begin with gathering recommendations from friends or neighbors. Or, do a basic online search for professionals in your area. Check for reviews and research how long they’ve been in business. Confirm their standing with the Better Business Bureau, too.

Then, when you’ve performed your due diligence, you can sit back and relax once you’ve selected who will do all the work for you!

Step 2: Listen to what they believe will be salable and at what price

A professional can tell you what is hot and what is not in today’s market.

Understand that what you paid for something or how old it is has little to do with what it will sell for now. This is one of the hard truths to accept!

But in regards to certain items, such as coins or artwork, you may also choose to have them professionally appraised in order to confirm their current value.

And keep in mind that if something can be sold, they will want to do it because they typically work on a percentage basis. So if you hear that you’re better off donating certain things for the income tax deduction, it’s likely true.

Step 3: Request a written estimate

Be sure it includes a clear explanation of how and when your net proceeds are distributed.

Typically, you are paid within 3 days of the end of the sale. Estate sale fees range anywhere from 20-45% of the gross profits. It depends on your market and on the exact services provided.

Obviously, they are managing the sale from start to finish. But they may also handle any unsold items for you by offering to donate those items to charity on your behalf. There is always trash removal and after-sale clean up to perform, as well. Therefore, ask about related services so you know who is doing what.

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What Happens During An Estate Sale

Reputable professionals adhere to industry best practices to help make your estate sale a success. Some of the most important considerations include the following:

  1. Weekend hours are a must to ensure all potential buyers can attend the sale. An estate sale is typically run 1-3 days.
  2. Colorful and enticing verbiage is used in the street signage, Internet and print ads. Artful and thoughtful display of your items is also an essential step.
  3. Extensive price research is conducted to get top dollar for you. Remember, the professional is paid on a percentage basis. So it’s in their best interest to maximize your return.
  4. Cash or credit cards are mandatory for all sales. An actual cash register is used to provide accuracy and security.
  5. Adequate preparation includes cleaning and minor repair of items to ensure selling at top dollar.
estate sale in my area
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Estate Sale or Consignment Shop?

How do you know which approach will work better for you?

To begin with, the professional will guide you. Although there are numerous estate sale companies, some choose to focus on high demand antiques, vintage, or one-of-a-kind items.

If many of your items are common brands or styles such as Corningware, Colonial furniture, or Ikea bookcases, you may be advised to consider the consignment route.

This is not to say that common household good don’t sell well in an estate sale. They can! But you should also explore your other options, anyway.

So talk to a few different estate sale professionals. Call or visit nearby consignment shops with pictures of your items. 

Then make a final, informed selling decision based on your research and your personal timeline.

Now go forth and sell!

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: This Post Shared The Basics of How An Estate Sale Moves All The Clutter Out In One Fell Swoop!

  • Research the selling options available to you. 
  • Remember to factor in how much time you have to liquidate your belongings.
  • Realize there is a tremendous amount of expertise and energy required to sell. Keep this in mind when you use a professional.

How an Estate Sale Quickly Declutters Everything (But the Kitchen Sink!) Read More »

decluttering tips

3 Decluttering Tips Which Absolutely Maximize Your Return When Selling Your Stuff

It is essential that you understand the impact of the 3 expert decluttering tips shared here, when you’re ready to cash in on what you don’t need, use, or want any more.

When might selling make sense for you? You may struggle with letting something go because you spent a lot of money on it. Your children might have no interest in the item. Or you simply believe the item has high resale value. 

Regardless of why you want to pursue selling, the key to a successful transaction is three-fold: the current market demand; the time/effort investment; and the available venues.

Knowing what to reasonably expect will shorten the sales cycle and optimize your price. 

Can’t argue with that, right?! Let’s do this!

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This post shares 3 decluttering steps to amplify the best return for things you sell in the present market environment!

tips to declutter your home
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Tip #1: Do Your Research

 

It’s smart to investigate if your items are in demand.

For example, Mid-Century Modern furniture is in vogue and has a good chance of yielding some dollars for you. On the other hand, Colonial furniture? Not so much, especially if you don’t live in the New England states.

And remember Precious Moments? What about Haviland china? Some of these collectables are worth more than others. However, many are collecting dust in resale shops, despite their high appeal a decade or three ago.

So start with exploring venues where particular items are often resold. For example, talk to local resale shop owners for their opinions on what type of furniture or which designer clothing is sought after in your town.

If it’s fine art that you’re looking to sell, check with a local art appraiser or art gallery for a professional opinion. In all cases, do a search on eBay for clues to prices of items similar to yours.

Ultimately, due diligence on your part will save you the disappointment of pricing items too high and having them sit idle in your home.

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Tip #2: Understand the Return

Determine a realistic price point so you can decide if it’s worth the work needed to sell your stuff.

Ask Yourself the Following Questions

  • Which selling method(s) will you use?
  • Do you need to clean or repair the items pre-sale?
  • How will the buyers receive the items: do you need to ship them or will they pick them up?
  • Will you sell on-line or on consignment?

Unless you choose to sell on your own, utilizing any 3rd party will reduce your net dollars. It stands to reason since they are doing work for you, such as attracting, displaying and dealing with the buyers.

Most resale shops put a time limit on how long items will be offered. They typically have a rigid markdown policy enforced as time goes by, too. This may be hard to accept but the shop owners need to maximize the return on their merchandise.

It behooves them to have their displays refreshed regularly. After all, if things aren’t selling, they need to move off center stage of the sales floor.

Factor in the Cost of Your Efforts

It take time to inventory, price, and prepare for a sale!

You may need extra hands to deal with the buyers. The same goes for selling on-line, whether through Craig’s List, a FB group, or e-Bay. Your ad needs to be smartly worded, refreshed, and optimized regularly until the items sell.

Potential buyers will have questions that you need to answer promptly. Some will still want to negotiate price or show up with less money, hoping you will settle. Others will want you to hold the item until they can stop by. Finally, a few may be “no-shows”… so the process starts all over … sigh!

You might be pleasantly surprised with what you may realize from your selling efforts. Or, you may be disappointed to realize the deep discount required to sell belongings that have served you well.  

However, “something is better than nothing” may become your new motto! Either way, be informed and prepared for what you need to do to capture some dollars.

decluttering tips for home
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Tip #3: Land on a Selling Venue

Ready to check out your options? Hang on ’cause there’s a lot of them!

Based on your research, (back up to Tip #2 if you didn’t do this yet, haha!) now you can decide if you want to do this solo or if you prefer some help.

If you prefer to sell on your own, you can do this one of two ways:

  • Using local apps such as OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace groups
  • Selling outside your hometown, using global apps, such as Poshmark, eBay, or thredUP.

With the first option, you’ll meet face-to-face to deliver the goods. But with the second option, you’ll be mailing the items somewhere in the world!

Otherwise, if you want help, any “brick & mortar” resale shop will do the bulk of the work for you. All you have to do is bring in your items and they will select what they believe will sell on their floor.

You can identify local options simply by Googling, “second-hand stores near me” or “resale shops near me”. Always call ahead to ensure they are interested in your stuff. Emailing pictures cuts back on wasted trips.

Finally, head down to the end of this post for related posts that share the latest various on-line selling sites! It’s an ever-changing lineup of possibilities but I’m always updating them annually.

I focus on sharing the best decluttering tips with you … because there’s always someone out there who wants to buy your stuff!

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: This post was all about 3 top decluttering tips to maximize your reselling efforts!

Your turn!

  • Have you sold stuff? How did that go?
  • What would you do differently? What did you learn?

Drop your thoughts below … and thanks for stopping by!

3 Decluttering Tips Which Absolutely Maximize Your Return When Selling Your Stuff Read More »

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